CRITICALLY-ACCLAIMED JAZZ VOCALIST JACKIE ALLEN
RELEASES MY FAVORITE COLOR
Tenth Overall Recording and First Studio Album in 8 Years
Set For Release May 13, 2014
“Her gift is utterly distinctive and even innovative…a masterpiece.
It’s revelatory and sounds effortless.” Billboard
Long known for the enticing smoky quality of her voice and the natural sincerity of her interpretations, jazz vocalist Jackie Allen releases her tenth CD MY FAVORITE COLOR, May 13, 2014. This marks the long anticipated follow-up studio album to her 2006 Blue Note highly-acclaimed recording Tangled.
My Favorite Color features two originals and eight standards, reaching from the thirties into the seventies. Harold Arlen and Truman Capote’s “Sleepin’ Bee” swings on tiptoe, replete with its verse and a perfectly melodic Ben Lewis piano solo. An organ and horn infused romp propels Joe Zawinul’s “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” into a hip soul frenzy. Jackie’s arrangement of Gershwin’s “My Man’s Gone Now” is reimagined as a dramatic modal voyage, featuring an eloquent bowed bass solo by Hans Sturm and a stirring John Moulder electric guitar solo. In classic ballad style, Oscar Levant and Mark Heyman’s “Blame It On My Youth” opens with a goregous extended acoustic guitar introduction that folds gently into Jackie’s profoundly sincere and wistful reading. Hendrix’ “Manic Depression” conjures up Bitches Brew with a Miles-esque muted horn solo by Tito Carillo jousting with Ben Lewis’ organ jabs and Jackie’s Dante’s Inferno scatting.
"Allen’s voice is both crystalline and soulful. This is four-hundred-dollar-a-bottle jazz -- no cheap imitation." (Rolling Stone)
Steeler’s Wheel 1972 hit “Stuck In The Middle With You” (Rafferty/Egan) is treated to a groove influenced by Horace Silver’s funky hard-bop masterpiece Jody Grind. Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s poignant “A House Is Not A Home” is transformed into a nuanced waltz and re-harmonized by pianist Ben Lewis. “Diana” (Allen/Schiffman) is an original sweeping waltz, expressing the regrets of trading a free spirited bohemian life for corporate security. Stripping down the harmony of Mel Torme and Robert Well’s “Born To Be Blue,” Jackie’s bareboned arrangement magnifies the despair of the lyric. The disc closes with Jackie’s “Call Me Winter.” The beautiful abstract lyrics were composed with lines shared by the late Illinois Poet Laureate, GE Murray: “If you don’t know where you are, you’ve arrived.”
My Favorite Color was originally intended to be a live recording, but the day before the concert Jackie came down with a rare case of laryngitis. “Fortunately the band and recording engineer were already in town and we decided to record all the instrumental tracks live on stage during our sound check just in case my voice didn’t improve. I managed to get through the concert but the concert recording was useless since my voice was a mess.” The instrumental tracks were left untouched for several years until they were discovered on a hard drive after a move. There were multiple takes of each song beautifully recorded by Steve Weeder and Jackie began working with Tom Larson to lay down the vocal tracks over the best of the instrumental tracks. “I had to anticipate the band, when normally we interact live in the moment, which was a real challenge.” Upon hearing Jackie’s version of “Blame It On My Youth” for the first time, multiple Grammy-winning mastering engineer Alan Silverman remarked, “That was the most beautiful recording of that tune I’ve ever heard - and I recorded Dory Previn singing that in the 60’s.”
It may not be easy bein’ green, but Jackie makes the wait well worth it.
Born in Milwaukee, WI Jackie grew up in McFarland, a suburb of Madison, WI. She was surrounded by music, all three of her brothers played brass instruments at the insistence of her father Louis (Gene), a Dixieland jazz tuba player, recently inducted into the Polka Hall of Fame. Jackie chose the French horn. She attended U.W. Madison studying Vocal Performance and Jazz with NEA Jazz Master Richard Davis. In the late 80s, Jackie moved to Milwaukee where she met pianist/organist Melvin Rhyne (Wes Montgomery Trio) and worked with him for four years before moving to Chicago. There she began her recording career, recording for independent and major labels including Lake Shore Jazz, Naxos Jazz, A440, Red Mark, Blue Note Records and others. Jackie met “Chicago’s First Lady of Jazz” pianist/vocalist Judy Roberts and began a long musical relationship recording two CDs, Santa Baby and Autumn Leaves. Jackie and her own combo recorded 3 critically acclaimed CDs for A440 and Blue Note: The Men In My Life (2003), Love Is Blue (2004) and Tangled (2006). Her last release, Starry Night (2009) was recorded live with chamber orchestra and features star-themed songs penned by arrangers who have written for such legends and noted artists as Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, Doc Severinsen, and Bobby McFerrin.
Jackie’s extraordinary talent has taken her on multiple tours of Europe, Morocco, Brazil, China and Taiwan. Nationally she has toured both coasts and in-between appearing in Los Angeles at Catalina’s, San Francisco at Yoshi’s, San Diego at Humphrey’s, and New York City at The Blue Note and The Josef Papp Public Theater. She was recently featured on A Prairie Home Companion (2014) where she gave Garrison Keillor a “Torch Singing” lesson . She has been a featured artist with the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic in Chicago’s Millennium Park and Auditorium Theater for Ella Fitzgerald’s 95 Birthday Celebration. She has performed at international festivals in Detroit, Chicago, Paris, the Hague, Stuttgart, Edinburgh, Bologna, Beijing, Hong Kong, Thessaloniki, Sao Paulo and more.
Jackie has served multiple terms on the Board of Governors and Jazz Nominating Committee for the Recording Academy (Grammy Awards).